February 2001

v Last Month and This - Jack Cole

Well, I guess January is just a slow month. After only 16 people made it out to January's Old Chestnuts, I checked my notes and found that the total was only one shy of the previous year. We had 4 Newbies (including harpist Valerie Cardill), and Mary & Barry's son Anthony made his debut on recorder. And those were pretty much the hilights, as a shortage of song leaders and a difficult theme made for a sometimes shaky night.

Credits to those who managed a song on the theme of "2001: The Movie"!! Wayne (not to rest on his past glories) brought David Bowie and "Major Tom" and I found "Would You Like to Swing on a Star". There were also some "millennial" songs - thanks to everyone for trying!

On February 17th we return to 111 Chestnut St. and the suggested theme is "Hearts". Gee, I wonder why? Hope to see you there!

[ If you're looking for something else to do that night, think about Margaret Hitchcock's house concert in Cambridge! Performing will be Bob MacLean, Pete Ahrens, and Allison Lupton (and friends). Tommy Malloy will be story-telling and Niamh Meyers step-dancing. And if that's not enough, the concert will be followed by an open sing!! Cost is $8 with proceeds going to Cambridge's Out of the Cold program. More details below. ]

v Haines & Leighton- Jean Mills

We were driving from Guelph to Kitchener on January 6th, on our way to the concert by Haines & Leighton, listening to their cd in order to get in the mood. I'd met Mark and Tom at the Woods Music and Dance Camp last summer and had been lucky enough to experience their live act at one of the evening concerts, but my husband had never seen them.

"You're going to love them!" I raved.

We drove along, listening to their fiddle and accordion version of familiar traditional tunes and I realized that my husband, Dale, wasn't quite engaged. While I was picturing the energetic, almost ferocious approach that Mark and Tom bring to their performances, Dale was hearing tunes, well-played and cleanly- recorded, but nonetheless just tunes.

"There's a strong visual aspect to their performance," I added, and realized that was the missing ingredient.

Hearing Haines & Leighton perform is great, but seeing them perform brings a whole new dimension to the words "live performance". These guys bring music alive in a way that reminds me of 70's rock bands smashing guitars on stage. The energy never wavers, whether it's up-tempo fiddle tunes, songs, accordion riffs or bluesy, folky ballads. Tom Leighton transforms the accordion into something larger than life, and his keyboard and synth arrangements are deep in texture and colour. His bodhran playing brought the house down. And Mark Haines' raspy vocals, sensitive guitar accompaniment, up-front fiddle renditions and songwriting genius are apparent on every song. Together they can leave you weak from giggling ("Does This Mean It's Over?") - or make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck ("I'm On My Way"). Whether it's country ("Boots and Saddles") or traditional ballads ("The Raggle Taggle Gypsy"), Mark Haines and Tom Leighton know how to take a song over and make it their own.

The concert was over too soon. Tom and Mark bounded from the stage and took up their positions at the door so that they could shake hands with every person leaving the hall that evening. Two fantastic musicians, and two wonderful people. If folk musicians are allowed to rock, then Haines & Leighton have perfected the art.

v David Francey- Jack Cole

To tell you about David Francey I don't have to go much further than the first quote from his publicity page:

"David Francey is the best Canadian folk writer that I have heard in 20 years. Quite simply, almost every song I've heard so far I wished I'd written. I think that he is going to be a voice in this country for a long time, and that his songs will be sung by my great, great, great grandchildren." - James Keelaghan

The page contains many more quotes. "Riveting performer", "words of eloquence, beauty and charm hung on a jewel of a voice", "absolutely stunning performance", "passionate and authentic", "great song-writing; beautiful arrangements; an amazing voice". All from fellow performers or festival artistic directors. No doubt about it, David Francey has made a big impression.

His debut album, Torn Screen Door, has been on my CD player non-stop since I mail-ordered it, after hearing the praise it was getting on the net. It even went on vacation with me! The album is filled with songs about the little guy, the farmer, the truck driver, love won and lost. It was recently selected the best folk album of the past year by a CBC reviewer. And it's sibling recording is supposed to be ready by March.

Which is, coincidentally, when David will be sitting down in our living room to entertain about 40 of us Old Chestnuts. Tickets are more than half gone - and those mostly to people coming from out of town, who got the word from David's Web site! Rob Reid of The Record has already reserved a seat for this concert! So don't wait - join us March 24 to see and hear David Francey! Tickets are only $12, and available at 578-6298.

By the way, James Keelaghan himself will also be appearing in KW in March at the Button Factory on the 7th. Tickets are available from 747-8505.

v Rick Scott at the GRDC - Jean Mills

What an opportunity! Rick Scott, dulcimer player, children's performer and member of legendary band Pied Pumkin, was going to be in the neighbourhood. The Grand River Dulcimer Club jumped at the chance to have a real live professional dulcimer player pay us a visit. With his beautiful teardrop-shaped dulcimer in tow, Rick joined us for a few hours at Folkway Music in Guelph to share some tips and tunes.

It was an informal evening full of laughs, instruction and jamming. Rick loves his instrument (don't we all?) and was happy to share some of his tricks, including some variations on rhythmic strumming, using different strings for effect, and chording up and down the neck. We learned, jammed and performed Pumkin Joe Mock's beautiful song "Valentine's Day". In fact it was so good, we played it twice! Then Rick taught us to play along on his wonderful "Angels Do", a song written in honour of his special needs grandchild. He played us a few tunes, we asked him tons of questions (which he was happy to answer), and he left us with some great advice: play your dulcimer the way you want to play it. There's no right or wrong way to play the dulcimer.

Thank you, Rick! The workshop was inspiring, fun, and a gave us a whole new way of looking at this traditional instrument.

[ A review of Pied Pumkin's concert will appear in the next newsletter! Pictures from workshops and concerts may be found on the OCSC Web site soon! - jc ]

v Dulcimer Building Workshop

Anyone interested in making their very own dulcimer may want to check out a workshop on May 26th at (I believe) Lee Valley Tools in Scarborough. The cost, which includes a complete dulcimer kit, is $175.

"Under the direction of Greg Furan (luthier), participants will assemble a mountain dulcimer from a kit in this one day seminar. Discussion will touch on common guiding processes with other stringed instruments. Finishing types and techniques will be discussed so that participants will be able to complete their dulcimers after the seminar".

For more info call Gregory Furan at 416-284-5622 or via email: gfuran@home.com .

v Celtic College 2001 - jc

Goderich's Celtic College enters it's 7th (?) summer with most of the favourites back again, and a selection of exciting new teachers! Here is a preliminary list of who will be on staff this year - subject to change. Celtic College happens in the week following the August Civic holiday, culminating in the featival all weekend long.

Patrick Orceau - fiddle
Christina Smith - fiddle
Maurice Lennon - fiddle
Nancy Kerr - fiddle, song, harmony
James Feagan - guitar, song, harmony
Jean Hewson - guitar, song
Sean Keane - song & sean nos
Sara Grey - Scots/Irish North Am. song
Nathan Curry - guitar, bouzouki
Brian Pickell - mandolin, guitar
Loretto Reid - tinwhistle, flute
Joe Grady - tinwhistle, flute
Peter Horan - flute,fiddle
Janice Crewe - tinwhistle
Brian Taheny - banjo, mandolin, cittern
Ken Perlman - banjo, PEI repertoire
Donna Missigman - lap & ham. dulcimer
Julie Schryer - piano accompaniment
Pat O'Gorman - group playing/Breton repertoire
Frank Edgley - anglo concertina
Don Kavanagh - harmonica
Mark Dubord - mandolin & ind. string help
Ben Grossman - bodhran
Leon Taheny - bodhran
Stephen Darke - sound
Ernie King - instrument repair
Joe Melady - instrument repair
Lynette Segal - ergonomics
Chanda Gibson - Canadian step dancing
Maureen Mulvey - Step, ceili & set dancing
Gearoid OhAllmhurain - Irish language & culture
Norita Fleming - Celtic cooking & hospitality
JoAnn Ras - story telling
Darrell Markewitz - blacksmithing
David Rankine - Celtic illumination
Laura Travis - stonecarving
Catherine Crowe - copper enameling, Irish myth
Brenda Roy - jewelry
Brigitte Wolf - stained glass
Diane Edwards - marquetry
Grant Taylor - Irish stools

Also, I have this year's festival lineup (so far): Sean Keane Band, Old Blind Dogs, Nancy Kerr & James Feagan, Bobby Watt Band, Scruj McDuck, Sara Grey, Celtic Offspring, Kerrykeel, Ken Perlman, Kate Crossen & her band, Finn McCoul, Gearoid OhAllmhurain & Patrick Orceau, Pierre Schryer Band, Reid - Taheny Band, FGD the B sides, Pulse, Christina Smith & Jean Hewson, Don McGeoch, Canadian Celtic Choir, and Tony Doherty.

v Folk Benefit Concerts - jc

This past Friday (Feb 2) was the annual fundraising drive at Waterloo's CKWR radio. If you enjoy Doug Gibson's show (and with the Old Chestnuts planning another appearance this spring, how could you not?) then please consider dropping a donation in the mail, along with a note encouraging Doug's program to continue!

Hamilton's CFMU will be hosting its 6th annual Freewheeling Folk Benefit Concert on Sat. Feb. 24th at 6:30 PM. The venue is the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1494 Wallace Road, Oakville. Tickets are available by calling (toll free) 1-877-263-9632.

The line-up: John Prince And A Piece Of The Rock, Tanglefoot, Steel Rail, Eve Goldberg, Paul Langille, Scott Cameron Smith. There will be great raffle prizes, door prizes and excellent c.d.'s for sale!

v Some Events in The Area (as space permits!)

Feb 16 Black Walnut Folk Club, Mill-Courtland Centre. $3. Open mic. With host.
Feb 17 Old Chestnuts Song Circle. (Note the odd week!) Contrary to previous reports - moved back to Jack & Lori's! "Hearts".
Feb 17 House Concert, Bob MacLean, Allison Lupton and more (see above). 7 PM, $8, 621-4649.
Mar 3 Mill Race Folk Club, Ernie's Roadhouse, Cambridge. 1st Saturday of each month.
Mar 7 James Keelahghan, The Button Factory, tickets $15 from WCAC at 747-8505, Words Worth Books & Twelfth Night Music
Mar 24 David Francey House Concert, $12. 578-6298

v About this newsletter..... It's emailed if I have your address. It's on the Web at http://www.mgl.ca/~jhcole and available at OCSC and BWFC get togethers. Also available by regular mail, but for that I request a few stamped envelopes or a contribution to postage. Call 578-6298 for more information. My goodness I am still reeling from Haines & Leighton and the Pied Pumkin! What marvelous people, and what amazing musicians. The roof at Zion may never be quite the same! Thanks to everyone who helped and came out! Thanks for the reviews Jean!

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